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What's Next For Cesar Sayoc, Charged With Mailing Explosives


This morning, we've been talking about the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue. But this past week also saw 14 package bombs sent to prominent Democrats and critics of President Trump. A man has been arrested in that case. Cesar Sayoc is being held at the Federal Detention Center in Miami. For the latest on this story, we turn now to NPR's national security correspondent Greg Myre, who is in neighboring Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Good morning.

GREG MYRE, BYLINE: Good morning, Lulu.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right, so he's been arrested. What should we be looking for on the legal front?

MYRE: Well, we expect Sayoc to go before a federal magistrate Monday here in Miami. It's probably going to be a very brief appearance, though he may enter a plea for these five federal charges he faces. And then we expect that he will be sent to New York, perhaps fairly soon. New York will - it seems - will be taking the lead in the prosecution here.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Are there any new details on the investigation?

MYRE: Well, there have been no new explosives in the mail since Friday when he was arrested. So that's, perhaps, the most important point. Still the question - how did one person, living out of his van with no resources, make all these explosives and put the nation on edge? CNN has reported, citing a source, that he apparently was making them in his van. And there's no sign he had any other help.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Are we getting a picture of how he became this extreme?

MYRE: Yeah. There was this dramatic shift in 2016. He had a very troubled life, lots of arrests. But he wasn't political. He - on social media, where he was very prolific, it was about things like soccer and bodybuilding and nightlife. And then two years ago, all this anger - political anger starts coming out in social media.

One thing really struck me. He, as we know, lived in a van. He hung out sort of on the southern edge of Fort Lauderdale in Parkland, the community that had that horrific school shooting this year. That's only about 15 miles away, sort of the northwest edge of Fort Lauderdale.

And Sayoc began making all these attacks against David Hogg, one of the students who survived and became a prominent gun control advocate. He was constantly going after Hogg on Twitter, saying he was a fraud, he didn't go to the school and that, in fact, he was an actor being paid by George Soros, the financier who's been in the news so much lately. And Soros, in fact, was the first to receive an explosive package in the mail.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I understand you've spoken with co-workers, including one who was in that van.

MYRE: Yeah. Debra Gureghian was a manager at the New River Pizza where Sayoc was a delivery driver. And she says they got along. He was reliable. He gave her a ride home one night when it was raining. And she noticed all these dirty clothes and food wrappers. But she said he also openly talks about saying that gays and Jews and blacks should be eliminated. Here's what he said about - here's what she said about his political thinking.

DEBRA GUREGHIAN: He would start talking about Hitler. He loved Hitler - loved Hitler. And we should go back to that society with Hitler.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's NPR national security correspondent Greg Myre. Thank you so much.

MYRE: Thank you, Lulu. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Greg Myre is a national security correspondent with a focus on the intelligence community, a position that follows his many years as a foreign correspondent covering conflicts around the globe.